Academy Fellows Emeritus Professor David Blair, Professor David McClelland and Professor Susan Scott, with their colleague Professor Peter Veitch, have been jointly awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for their significant contribution to the first direct detection of gravitational waves. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister presented the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science for Industry, Science during an online public event.
Nearly 100 years after Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of General Relativity in 1915 and predicted the existence of gravitational waves from that theory. Over the last few decades, there were many scientists who either didn’t believe that gravitational waves existed, or felt that they were simply too small to ever be detected,” explains Professor Susan Scott. “We had enormous technological difficulties to overcome, everything had to be about a thousand times better, including the shapes of the mirrors, the frequency of the lasers, the acoustic wringing of the mirrors and the vibration isolation.
Professor Scott initiated the Australian effort in gravitational wave data analysis in 1998, and led Australian research in digging gravitational wave signals out of detector noise. Her Australian National University team contributed key components to the LIGO Data Analysis System through which the detection signal was processed in 2015, designing and conducting the first gravitational wave search to be carried out under Australian leadership.
The 2015 discovery registered gravitational-wave signals from the collision of two substantial black holes 1.3 billion years ago. This was made possible by the decades of pioneering work and innovation by the team, as part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory Scientific Collaboration (LSC).
“That detection involved two black holes colliding and the two amazing projections from Einstein’s theory are black holes and gravitational waves and they came together in that one event,” she said.
On Wednesday night the 28/10/2020, Professor Scott of the Australian National University was one of four scientists and the first female physicist — to be awarded Australia’s top science prize for their pioneering work discovering gravitational waves opening a new window to the universe.
It’s like the most magical story in science.
The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) team are:
Emeritus Professor David Blair (University of Western Australia)
They are internationally acclaimed for their critical contributions to the first direct detection of gravitational waves on Earth – a groundbreaking discovery in the world of physics.
The legacy of the team’s combined research excellence ensures that Australia is now front-and-centre in exploring this new window into the Universe.
OzGrav’s work ensured the stability of high-power laser beams and the optical perfection of mirrors in the detectors, and provided the theoretical underpinnings to the model for black hole collisions that enabled the detected signal to be definitively identified.
What Is a Gravitational Wave?
A gravitational wave is an invisible (yet incredibly fast) ripple in space. Gravitational waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). These waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path as they pass by. A gravitational wave is an invisible (yet incredibly fast) ripple in space. More Detail Visit.
Watch a video about Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) teamwork!
2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
Watch a video about The OzGrav team accepted their prize at this year’s live-streamed event.
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